Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections held this year in the total of seven phases commencing from February 10, the parties involved in the elections are yet to release their manifestos. Well, a lot is heard about election manifestos, shouldn’t there be one to bring about an immense impact on the ground! A village manifestoes. There is one such developmental strategy that deals with the advancement at the heart of UP. Model Gaon is the instance evolved by an IAS official in the largest geography of UP.
The state of Uttar Pradesh has witnessed colossal development over years holistically where the core work is done on the ground level. One such instance to be put forward is the appreciable ambition by an IAS officer Dr. Heera Lal currently serving as additional managing director, National Health Mission, UP, to transform the downtrodden, underdeveloped villages into ‘Model Gaon’. A model that innovates villages to enrich them all-round and improvise the ‘Gaon-Government-Governance’ model. Where in this ongoing season of elections in 5 states manifesto word fetches the whole limelight, it is to see the new technique of ‘Model Gaon’ and ‘Village manifesto’ succeed.
The drive commenced last year in January with now covering up almost all the 75 districts of the state making it a huge success although posed by the serious situation of the pandemic. “We started the project outside Banda in January last year and we have reached all the 75 districts with 4138 people having enrolled and around 3000 people having downloaded the village manifesto.” Dr. Lal asserted.
Dr. Lal states, “the project was actually conceptualized by the retired Chief General Manager of NABARD, Mr. Munish Gangwar.” however, he led the progressive step as the District Magistrate (DM) of Banda district in Bundelkhand.
The sterling work taken at hand by Dr. Lal has left well imprints on the villagers’ lives. The step forward proved to be much beneficial for the villages of UP when it resulted in the rise of the water table by more than 1 meter, encouraging more public participation in active politics of UP and by crop enhancement programs that resulted in increasing crop productivity.
Dr. Lal on how he trained volunteers/ the change-makers asserted, “Inspired by my dream of a holistic development of villages, I sent a team of village heads to ‘Ralegan Siddhi’ (model village of Anna Hazare) and ‘Hiware Bazar’ (model village of Padma Shri Popat Rao) to acquire practical know-how from change-makers work.”
Putting the bottom-up approach at the core, the project of ‘Model Gaon’ creates a “demand for development” for the people at the bottom of the pyramid. The essence of this opening move lies in involving the change-makers for the all-round development of their villages and replicating the model across the nation to make villages independent in this era of growth.
The high benchmarks to be achieved have a few stages behind them which need to be covered as they move forward with teamwork to reach out to people in other parts of India.
The three simple stages include
- The first is creating a village manifesto, developing a free and easily accessible digital tool to set an agenda for the development of the project that sensitizes people to take active participation charging up human development along with.
- The second stage involves campaigns that empower passionate people to act as a ‘change maker’. They are trained in practical skills only to make them independent to lead and transform their villages in numerous sectors.
- The third stage proves to be a crucial one as it relates itself to an Agri-to-Agri business where the small and marginal farmers are trained to add value to their cropification.
The village manifestos are designed with the help of locals keeping in mind their ‘dream village’! It greatly outlines issues of sanitation, employment, medicinal facilities, modern and fast speed internet, marketing facilities, education available to all, self-reliant, solarized, documentation of village records, providing the use of IT in villages, malnutrition reduction, and a dispute free village. Also, these manifestos easily become available on the official website of the project for the villagers to download and add more important issues they think of getting covered under the initiative.
The data itself shows umpteen locals volunteering to be the change-makers in the villages to lead it then. They publicize awareness around the idea of the initiative, play a prominent role in mobilizing people in their geographies, add valuable insights and collect ground feedbacks to make it more efficient. The leaders of the project build capacities of these change-makers by training and empowering them with knowledge, resources, and further pathways. Adding to the information, Dr. Lal said, “Our team is also approaching newly elected Pradhans (village leaders), farmer producer organizations (FPOs), and Nehru Yuva Kendra members requesting them to join the initiative.”
On questioning about the assistance, the new technique gets, the official added, “ICICI Foundation is supporting us in all ways under the able leadership of Saurabh Singh. Model Gaon is thankful to the foundation.”
A solid database of more than 800 FPOs (Farmer Producer Organization) was collected across the state. Numerous webinars, capacity-building programs, training programs were run with a wholesome spirit on regular basis. The FPCs (Farmer Producer Company) are also created with the objective of grouping small-scale farmers for safeguarding their interests. “From the enormous database that we got, we were able to shortlist initially 18 and then 41 FPOs which have shown a certain degree of professional conduct, clear business strategy and future potential of growth.” the official noted.
The below-given information discloses the data of the Focus list and Registration for Model Gaon.
The ambitious drive by Dr. Lal and his team for the people still attached to the soil of this great country is indeed commendable. The state of Uttar Pradesh has been holistically developed with a great vision of the state government and leaders alike Dr. Heera Lal aspiring arduously for proving
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality” as rightly quoted by Warren G Bennis.